Last week a neo-Nazi was convicted in Israel. This is good – and
This month a Tel Aviv court condemned Dmitri Bogotich, 24, to
almost six years in prison. He was the ringleader of a gang calling itself
“Patrol 36,” which assaulted several people in Petah Tikva under Nazi
Bogotich was flown back to Israel after fleeing to Kyrgistan,
while the other youths involved were jailed after their arrest in 2007. The
prosecution considered their bigotry, their violence and their “racist”
motivation, but was unable to indict the group under the terms of a formal law
against Judeophobia – because such a law still doesn’t exist.
countries Judeophobia is lumped together with racism and xenophobia as an
aggravating circumstance for hate crime. But Judeophobia is a different type of
hatred that deserves a more precise legal definition. Judeophobia stands out
because Jews are neither foreigners nor a separate race, and mainly because,
rather than a breed of discrimination, Judeophobia’s essence is the demonization
of an entire group.
Judeophobia is a unique hatred for several reasons.
Firstly, Jews don’t need to be present for Judeophobia to exist. Even in
countries where there have been no Jews for generations, Jews are still accused
of being the lords of the world, Christ-killers or a virus.
So wild and
vast is the Judeophobic mythology that it can always nourish excuses for
cruelty. It is indeed the longest-lasting, most relentless, obsessive and
universal of all hatreds. The fact that it is very convenient to resort to it
lures demagogues to use it at any time and keeps it alive almost
In its current incarnation, Judeophobia focuses less on the
religion of the Jew or on his individual rights, but rather on Israel, making
the Jewish state the Jew of nations.
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While the National Socialists
certainly used racist terminology to provide their brutality with an aura of
rationality, in truth the Nazis weren’t real racists.
rhetoric about Aryan superiority, they also joined forces with supposedly
inferior races like Italians and Japanese for their fight against the
Scandinavians and British. Nazi “ideology” considered both of these latter
Furthermore, “wer Jude ist, bestimme ich
Goering when his aid Erhard Milch happened to disclose Jewish
“I decide who is a Jew.”
To label Nazism as “racist” is
to misunderstand the object of their frantic cruelty.
Since it is the
most convenient channel for hatred, Judeophobia can utilize both racism and
religious fanaticism, but that isn’t where the roots of the phenomenon
TO COMBAT this singular and lethal malady, we must promote specific
legislation to chastise Judeophobia in all its forms, from Christian and
Islamist vilification to neo-Nazism and the Nakba narrative.
body is better suited than the state of the Jews to pass such
A global law against Judeophobia (LAJ) would enable the
State of Israel to penalize the enemies of the Jews with disinvestment, fines
and the denial of citizenship.
The law would put into legal terms the
self-defense of the Jewish state, and it might eventually become one more of its
Jewish traits, like the observance of the Hebrew calendar, the Law of Return,
the Hebrew language, the Maccabi Games, the network of yeshivot, the menorah and
other symbols of the state.
The LAJ has an advantage over the March 2011
law that would withhold subsidies from organizations that brand the formation of
the State of Israel a tragedy, the so-called “Nakba law.”
The LAJ would
be broader in scope, encompassing the Nakba together with Holocaust denial,
blood libels and other types of vilification. Once Israel enacts such a law,
other countries might well follow to provide their legal systems with adequate
tools to counter Judeophobia.
Opponents of the “Nakba Law” questioned it
because they said it limits freedom of expression. The LAJ’s aim will be to
prevent the phenomenon of Jew-hatred, with the Nakba narrative included as only
one of its clauses.
The only Nakba that befell the Arabs in 1948 was
their leaders’ refusal to live in peace with the Jewish state. This Nakba
persists today together with several other Nakbas that Arab peoples suffer:
tyranny, tendency to violence, misogyny and a proclivity to destroy their
neighbor instead of building themselves.
The Nakba narrative is oblivious
of all the real Nakbas, disasters that have kept the Arabs in stagnation and
violence, and its obsessive claim that the source of Palestinian suffering is
the Jewish state echoes classical prejudices against the Jews.
state is the only country whose birthday is mourned every year, by Palestinian
groups as well as by several UN Agencies which mark the date with hypocritical
and hateful ceremonies. “Die Juden sind unser Unglück,” the Jews are our
misfortune, became “The Jewish state is our Nakba.”
is preserved almost intact: yesterday we drank the blood of Christian children,
today we spill the blood of Palestinian children; yesterday the Jewish religion
was vengeful, thus is the Jewish state today. The slanders never fade: Zionism
is imperialism without an empire, Israel is an apartheid state without races,
the IDF is too aggressive every time it defends its citizens.
narrative and its ceremonies started around 20 years ago and succeeded in
spreading the false anti-Zionist account of the Middle East, according to which
we are evil and the Palestinian people existed before the 20th
This distortion serves to justify every condemnation of our
country, such as the recent Russell Tribunal in South Africa in which racists
from different countries come together to condemn Israeli “racism.”
time is ripe to declare them illegal and to defend ourselves from
A law is needed that will delegitimize haters and Nakbas in
their various disguises.The writer is author of
Judeophobia and is
trying to re-introduce that term as an alternative to the ambiguous phrase
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